north korea

The U.S. Congress has passed a bill to renew the license for North Korean dissident broadcaster Radio Free Asia on a permanent basis. RFA has brought news and information chiefly about South Korea and the U.S to North Korean people via shortwave.

June 24, 2010

Other than at the 38th parallel on the Korean peninsula, the closest proximity that Americans and North Koreans have recently found themselves is in South Africa at the World Cup...In South Africa, though, it has been civilian athletes from the two countries rotating through the same stadiums in what is an admirable expression of human rivalry: competitive sports.

FIFA exercises tremendous influence with its financial clout and sports diplomacy, but it has been very accommodating to North Korea, since an unexpected move by the North could throw a spanner into the event.

Although China's policy of engagement is often portrayed by American observers as stonewalling diplomatic efforts on the peninsula, Beijing has in fact been advocating an alternative paradigm for reining in the DPRK.

China has tried hard to play a constructive role in the Korean Peninsula. But it's also true that China has not yet succeeded in overcoming several constraints which prevent the country from playing a bigger role on North Korean issues.

It was one of the biggest-ever gatherings of cabinet-level American officials in China. Some 200 Americans, including the secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, and the treasury secretary, Timothy Geithner, took part in the “Strategic and Economic Dialogue” on May 24th and 25th. The dialogue was launched in Washington last July as an annual chance to ensure that the wide range of bureaucracies involved in the relationship work in harmony.

The Obama administration expects China to join in the international criticism of North Korea for the sinking of a South Korean warship. After U.S.-China discussions this week in Beijing, senior American officials say China will carefully move closer to South Korea's position that the North must be held accountable for the torpedo attack in March.

Yes, the US has condemned North Korea over its alleged sinking of a South Korean warship in which 46 seamen were killed...But in light of what North Korea is accused of – an act of war – the US response is strangely and uncharacteristically subdued.